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BOOKSHELF: Plenty of New Books for Summer Reading

Compiled by Jamie H. Vaught


This is the first of a two-part series about recently-published books, mostly nonfiction.

--"President Carter: The White House Years" by Stuart E. Eizenstat (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, $40) is an intimate and insightful view of this underrated president and on how the presidency works. Serving as Chief Domestic Policy Adviser, the author was at President Carter's side in hundreds of meetings. Eizenstat draws on more than 7,500 pages of notes and 350 interviews of all the major figures that he had every meeting during Carter Administration to write a comprehensive history about the late 1970s. The 1,000-page hardcover also discusses Carter’s many missteps, including the Iranian Hostage Crisis, and explains the former president wanted to do the right thing, not for political reasons, which often hurt him and alienated Congress. Wrote former high-ranking government official James A. Baker III, who served under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, "Jimmy Carter was one of the most intriguing, and often-times misunderstood, presidents in U.S. history....(The book) provides an in-depth and inside look at the successes and failures of our nation’s 39th President. It is a compelling read for all interested in this period of American history."

--"The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work That Wows and Jobs That Last" by Tom Peters (Vintage Books, $17) is another remarkable book by legendary business management guru. Peters writes that nothing beats a high-quality product or service, designed and delivered by people who are as dedicated to each other as they are to their shared goal. For a long time, the author has been preaching that businesses need to put people first, and in today's rapidly changing environment, his message is even more important than ever. The new 460-page paperback -- published 35 years after Peters' international bestseller "In Search of Excellence" -- provides refreshing guidelines for success in the tech age that any business leader can immediately implement.

--"Movie Nights with the Reagans: A Memoir" by Mark Weinberg (Simon Schuster, $28) is an interesting, behind-the-scences look inside the Ronald Reagan presidency. The author -- who was a former advisor, speechwriter and and press secretary to President Reagan for eight years -- shares intimate stories about the Reagans as told through the movies they watched together at Camp David. Weinberg traveled to Camp David on weekends with the Reagans and he was one of a few select members invited into the Aspen Lodge where the First Family screened both contemporary and classic movies. In the 261-page book, each chapter discusses a legendary film, what the Reagans thought of it, and provides anecdotes and untold stories about his family as well as the administration. In summary, it's a remarkable, nostalgic trip through the 1980s with the Reagans.